Everyone knows that when emails pile up in your inbox, so does your stress level. Trying to take control of your inbox or finding an important email in your thousands and thousands of e-mails can sometimes feel like a job in itself. The trick to reducing some of your stress and the first step to getting your inbox organized is clearing out your inbox; which I know is easier said than done.
I finally started to tackle my email inbox a few months ago and have been able to achieve Inbox Zero every day since. I will let you in on a few tips that helped me to begin to get organized:
Creating folders within your email box will allow emails to have a place. I create folders with categories that most of my emails fall into. I also create the following folders: (Note, I use the exclamation points because this will allow these important folders to show up at the top of your folder list.)
!IMPORTANT - This is where all of the important emails go that don't require immediate attention but that I still need.
!REPLY NEEDED - This folder is for emails that I have to reply to as soon as I get the chance.
!AWAITING REPLY - This is for emails that I am waiting for a reply from but I still want quick access to. Once I receive a reply and once the email communication is closed, I will move the email to the appropriate folder.
Once you create your category folders and the other important folders above, you will begin to realize that every email in your inbox can easily be organized.
CHECK YOUR EMAILS MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY
If you're anything like me, you continuously get both random and important emails throughout the day. If you plan to check your e-mail in the morning and then again at the end of your work day, you will get overwhelmed when you see the amount of mail in your inbox. Since I started to get organized I now check my emails at least 3 times a day. This will allow you to quickly organize the emails that you receive throughout the day into the categories/folders that you have created. This will allow you to have less mail to check at the end of the day.
Evernote is a great tool that can definitely keep you organized, but one of my favorite features of the app is the fact that you can send an email directly into Evernote by using the email address that they assign you. Within Evernote you are able to create Notebooks (folders) that you are able to send an email directly into. The best part is, you don't even have to open the Evernote app to organize your emails. You can easily tag them with a hashtag (i.e. #business) and by using an @ sign to designate what notebook (or folder) that you want the emails to be organized into. Evernote can be a very helpful tool to use within your business or even to use to organize your life.
UNSUBSCRIBE IF POSSIBLE
If you're like most business owners, you probably subscribe to more than a few newsletters that you thought would be useful at the time you subscribed. You may realize now that you either:
- Don't have time to read the newsletters
- Don't feel that you need to actually be subscribed to that newsletter anymore
If either of those two describes you and some of the newsletters that you subscribe to, utilize the unsubscribe button. I used to be the one that kept the newsletters around just in case I need the information contained in them one day. Doing this will just add to your clutter and will continue to stress you out. Just remember that you can always re-subscribe to the newsletter in the future if you feel that you need it again.